University Students Help Boy Move His Arms Again - NBC 7 San Diego

University Students Help Boy Move His Arms Again

“It gave me hope for what we might be able to do with him in the future,” said Ted Ng., Max's father.

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    Students Build Exoskeleton for Boy

    Two UC San Diego engineering students helped build exoskeleton for a boy who couldn't move his hands. NBC 7's Joe Little has more. (Published Friday, June 14, 2019)

    Max is a five-year-old boy who has a rare condition that leaves his arms limp by his sides. That was until two UC San Diego engineering students used their senior project to help.

    “You know it’s been a heartbreaking journey for him, to watch your kid go from a healthy little boy running around to now have to deal with all this,” said Ted Ng., Max’s father.

    Max has Myelitis, a rare virus that prevents him from using his arms and shoulders.

    Ethan and Marcos are senior engineering students at UC San Diego. They partnered with Max’s doctors at Rady Children’s Hospital to build him mechanical braces as their senior design project.

    “It’s kind of like an exoskeleton. And it was kind of like a miracle because I didn’t know how well it would work on him," Ethan said.

    But it did work, it allowed Max to move his hands up and down for the first time in three years.

    The students were able to build the brace in less than ten weeks.

    Max was finally able to do a typical childlike thing he hadn’t been able to do in years and that was, pick his nose.

    “I think the first time he used it, he just picked his nose with it. And that’s just needing to see him be a little kid,” said Ng.

    Max is finally able to punch and hug again, thanks to the college students who graduate on Saturday.

    “It gave me hope for what we might be able to do with him in the future,” said Ng.

    The exoskeleton is battery powered and can be modified to grow as Max grows.